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Sales Eye - I am a sales god! (Aug 16th, 2004)

2013-02-19
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I am a sales god!

16th August 2004

 

 

 

The five mistakes sales reps make...

 

I am a sales god! I am clever, charming, educated, well-dressed, eloquent, intelligent, persistent, convincing and, might I humbly add, good looking.

 

I have broken all the company's sales records, won all the sales contests, beat my budget every month, keep my expenses under budget, and do all of my reports on time. Oh, and did I mention? My paperwork is perfect. My managers love me, my clients love me - my God, even our competitors love me!

 

If this describes you, then you probably need a shrink. In fact, this is not far off what many sales reps actually think of themselves. After all, a part of what makes sales reps succeed is self-confidence. But the fact is, we all make mistakes - even you sales gods.

 

Last time we wrote about how to respond to the mistakes your company makes. In this article, we will take a proactive approach and identify the most common mistakes that salespeople make and then tell you what you should do to avoid those mistakes.

 

1. Not Listening One of our new sales managers recently told us, "If there is one skill I look for most in a sales rep, it's listening." Many salespeople think they know everything, and as a result they spend their time sharing their vast wisdom with clients - explaining to them what they need instead of asking intelligent questions and letting them talk. We have a salesperson who is convinced that by talking non-stop and at top speed, she will appear more knowledgeable and will build trust with the client. Nothing could be further from the truth.

 

What you can do: Practice listening. Don't think about your response while your customer is talking; have intelligent follow-up questions instead that are based on something they just said. It will confirm the fact that you are listening (finally a salesperson who listens!) Here is a shocking revelation: the more your customer talks, the more they will like you. The more they talk, the more information and clues you will uncover to get a sale. The more you talk, the more the customer will want to know "What's the price?"

 

2. Selling on Price Many salespeople believe their prices are too high. If you are not convinced your price is good, then you will have a difficult time convincing the client. Salespeople are too quick to discount their prices, and get nothing in return.

 

What you can do: Stop selling price and start selling solutions. Gain more knowledge of the customer and their business. By learning their needs and showing how you and your products or services will add value, you can start selling solutions and not just give the lowest price. Chances are your product or service is not a commodity.

 

3. Bad Use of Time Admit it, many salespeople are lazy. They spend too much time in the office preparing offers, sending e-mails and making excuses. They don't make enough phone calls and don't go to enough meetings. One of the best ways of wasting your time is to spend all your time in the office. There are only two activities that bring more sales - calling clients and visiting clients.

 

What you can do: Make your number one priority face-to-face meetings with clients. Track how many client meetings you have in a week, and try to double them. Unless you have 'route sales' like Coke or Lyreco, you are in charge of your own personal schedule. Stop strolling into the office at 9:10, just to have a coffee and breakfast, and start coming in at 8:00. You can accomplish more in the first hour of the day, when the office is quiet, than you can during the rest of the day.

 

4. Over Promising and Under Delivering "Tak, tak, tak, wiem, wiem, wiem" - we hear this so much, it's almost a sure sign that something will go wrong. When you are just telling the customer that you can do everything, and then you have to call back later to tell them there are problems (or better yet - send an e-mail), it just makes you look irresponsible.

 

What you can do: Tell the truth. If, for example, your company does not offer super fast turn-around time, then tell them why and turn your weakness into a strength. Know what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how to deal with them when they come up. Know your company, and always make sure you can deliver what you promised. Winning the sale by over-promising is a short-term, lose-lose strategy.

 

5. No Plan for Personal Growth During your next sales meeting, ask this question of the group: "Who in this room has spent zł.40 on a book about sales or business in the last six months?" It is a sad fact that most salespeople leave it up to the company to train them and to share relevant articles with them. Do you think your salespeople would spend their own money on attending a sales seminar? They usually complain about having to go, even if the company is footing the bill. But then again, they already know all the answers, don't they?

 

What you can do: Well you can start by sharing this article with your salespeople. Give them your own sales tapes, and any books and magazines that you have. Who knows, they might actually learn something

 

These are the five most common mistakes that most salespeople make. Of course, the list could go on and on. Salespeople and managers should acknowledge that they do make mistakes and don't have all the answers. This is the first step to improving yourself and your results!

 

We'd like to invite readers to write and ask questions they have about sales and sales management. Award-winning Lynka T-shirt for five winners at salesbrothers@lynka.com.pl.


 

From Warsaw Business Journal by John Lynch, Matt Lynch -"The Sales Brothers"